Direct Media Interface

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In computing, Direct Media Interface (DMI) is Intel's proprietary link between the northbridge and southbridge on a computer motherboard. It was first used between the 9xx chipsets and the ICH6, released in 2004. Previous Intel chipsets had used the Intel Hub Architecture to perform the same function, and server chipsets use a similar interface called Enterprise Southbridge Interface (ESI). [1] While the "DMI" name dates back to ICH6, Intel mandates specific combinations of compatible devices, so the presence of a DMI interface does not guarantee by itself that a particular northbridgesouthbridge combination is allowed.


DMI shares many characteristics with PCI Express, using multiple lanes and differential signaling to form a point-to-point link. Most implementations use a ×4 link, while some mobile systems (e.g. 915GMS, 945GMS/GSE/GU and the Atom N450) use a ×2 link, halving the bandwidth. The original implementation provides 10 Gbit/s (1 GB/s) in each direction using a ×4 link.

DMI 2.0, introduced in 2011, doubles the data transfer rate to 2 GB/s with a ×4 link. It is used to link an Intel CPU with the Intel Platform Controller Hub (PCH), which supersedes the historic implementation of a separate northbridge and southbridge. [2] :14

DMI 3.0, released in August 2015, allows the 8  GT/s transfer rate per lane, for a total of four lanes and 3.93 GB/s for the CPUPCH link. It is used by two-chip variants of the Intel Skylake microprocessors, which are used in conjunction with Intel 100 Series chipsets; [3] [4] some low power (Skylake-U onwards) and ultra low power (Skylake-Y onwards) mobile Intel processors have the PCH integrated into the physical package as a separate die, referred to as OPI (On Package DMI interconnect Interface) [5] and effectively following the system on a chip (SoC) design layout. [6] On 9 March 2015, Intel announced the Broadwell-based Xeon D as its first enterprise platform to fully incorporate the PCH in an SoC configuration. [7]

In 2021, with the release of 500 series chipsets, Intel increased the amount of DMI 3.0 lanes from four to eight, doubling the bandwidth. [8]

DMI 4.0, set for release in 2021 with 600 series chipsets, will have 8 lanes each providing 16 GT/s, two times faster compared to DMI 3.0 x8. [9]


Northbridge devices supporting a northbridge DMI are the Intel 915-series, 925-series, 945-series, 955-series, 965-series, 975-series, G31/33, P35, X38, X48, P45 and X58 [ citation needed ].

Processors supporting a northbridge DMI and, therefore, not using a separate northbridge, are the Intel Atom, Intel Core i3, Intel Core i5, and Intel Core i7 (8xx, 7xx and 6xx, but not 9xx). Processors supporting a northbridge DMI 2.0 and, therefore not using a separate northbridge, are the 2000, 3000, 4000, and 5000 series of the Intel Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7.

Southbridge devices supporting a southbridge DMI are the ICH6, ICH7, ICH8, ICH9, ICH10, NM10, P55, H55, H57, Q57, PM55, HM55, HM57, QM57 and QS57[ citation needed ].

PCH devices supporting DMI 2.0 are the Intel B65, H61, H67, P67, Q65, Q67, Z68, HM65, HM67, QM67, QS67, B75, H77, Q75, Q77, Z75, Z77, X79, HM75, HM76, HM77, QM77, QS77, UM77, H81, B85, Q85, Q87, H87, Z87, H97, Z97, C222, C224, C226, X99, H110, [10] and H310. [11]

PCH devices supporting DMI 3.0 are the Intel Z170, H170, HM170, Q170, QM170, Q150, B150, C236, CM236, C232, and C620. [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] The Intel 200 series, B360, [22] H370, [23] Q370, [24] Z370, [25] Z390, [26] C246, [27] and Intel 400 series chipsets also support DMI 3.0.

See also

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